Developmental coordination disorder and overweight and obesity in children: a systematic review

Obes Rev. 2014 May;15(5):408-23. doi: 10.1111/obr.12137. Epub 2014 Jan 6.


Children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) find themselves less competent than typically developing children with regard to their physical abilities and often experience failure. They are therefore likely to avoid physical activity. Physical inactivity is considered an important risk factor for developing overweight and obesity. The aim of this study is to assess the association between DCD and overweight and obesity in children and whether this association is influenced by age and/or gender. Six electronic databases were systematically searched. Titles and abstracts were screened for relevance. Remaining studies were subjected to full paper review. The quality of the included articles was assessed and relevant data were extracted for comparison. The search yielded 273 results. Twenty-one studies, based on 10 cohorts, were included. Participants' ages ranged from 4 to 14 years. In all cohorts, children with DCD had higher body mass index scores, larger waist circumference and greater percentage body fat compared with controls. Seven studies assessed the effect of gender and four studies provided information on the effect of age. Children with DCD seem to be at greater risk for overweight and obesity. This risk may be higher for boys and seems to increase with age and with the severity of motor impairment.

Keywords: Children; developmental coordination disorder; obesity; overweight.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Motor Skills Disorders / complications
  • Motor Skills Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Overweight / etiology
  • Overweight / physiopathology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / etiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Waist Circumference